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THE OLD SETTLERS
OF JOHNSON COUNTY, lA.
AT THEIR ANNUAL REUNION AUGUST 21, 1900
At nine o'clock this morning the crowd began to gather around
the log cabins, and soon four hundred people were on the ground.
The forenoon session was taken up with handshaking and visiting and
talking over old times. Many were the tales told of early years by
those present and while very interesting, yet are only incidents of
the everyday life of those worthy pioneers, and while well worth pub-
lication, yet there is not enough space to do them full justice and they
will have to remain a part of unwritten history. Among those present
at the morning session were the following. The names of the pioneers
are given in the list and the figures following their names denote the
year in which they came to Johnson county. Others came later in the
day, and owing to the program in progress did not register until after
the hour of going to press. Among those present up to one o'clock
W. J. Bowen, '43
Robert Taylor, '69
Mrs. Robert Taylor, '48
John Summerhays, '59
Dr. J. P. Vonstein, '77
F. A. Stratton, '57
J. P. Vonstein, '50
Joseph Hradek, '64
Thos. Greg-ory, '74
John Fisher, '78
J. Norwood Clark, '53
R. A. McChesney, '54
Col. W. lyucas, '39
John J. Roessler, '40
Capt. Benj. Owen, '57
Strader De Vault, '39
Mrs. W. I. Huff, '53
John Sheets, '56
Nicholas Sheets, '56
W. J. Huff, '58
Mrs. Mary Hartsock, '56
Mrs. Mary Weber, '56
A. P. Hemming-way, '54
Garrett I^ancaster, '38
Frank Stackman, '76
Georg-e Anderson, '52
J. Tantlinger, '43
LfOuisa Warren Tant-
J. Z. Stover, 38
F. W. Hemstead, '44
Mrs. F. W. Hemstead, ,63
O. Andrews, '54
J. M. Huffman, '46
Joseph Andrews, '60
Bryan Dennis, '39
John Tranter, '55
Justus Aug-ustine, '55
F. Rate, '40
Mrs. F. Rate, '45
Mrs. W. Kirkpatrick, '39
Mrs. Mary Douglass, '41
Wm. Sweet, '38
Caleb Sweet, '38
S. Kessler, ' — ■
George Magruder, '45
J. W. Packard, '58
C. C. Curtis, '56
G. R. Irish, '40
J. H. Cray, '56
H. E). Edwards, '63
Henry Schultz, '63
Sam Fry, '40
John Stevens, '43
Z. M. Grissel, '60
Henry Walker, '37
Mrs. Henry Walker, '38
Mrs. C. K. Clifford, '46
Andrew Fountain, '46
Mrs. Isabell Shellady, '41
— 4 —
S. H. Fairall, '55
G. R. Hall, '55
Mrs. Ruth Mag-ruder, '3i
Mrs. Nancy Babbitt, '53
Mrs. Maria Snider, '41
Mrs. Marg-aret Orr, '71
John Summerhays, sr., '
E. Summerhays, '60
Mrs. Stella Morford, '69
Jacob Ricker, '56
Mrs. KHz. McCrory, '40
Mrs. J. W. Fackler, '48
J. W. Fackler, '56
M. F. Butler, '39
Mrs. M. F. Butler, '39
W. Jackson, '54
Mrs. W. Jackson, '55
Mrs. Sarah KHyson, '52
Wm. Kmmons, '52
Jacob Weaver, '47
G. W. Saunders, '57
President S. H. Fairall called the assembly together and intro
duced Rev. Father A. J. Schulte, who pronounced the invocation.
Then came the annual election of officers and some choice music
the old people joining in the dear old melody, ''Auld Lang Syne."
The officers elected for the ensuing year are:
President — David Dixon,
Vice President — Capt. Philip Shaver.
Secretary — G. R. Irish.
Recording Secretary — R. P. Howell.
Treasurer — Henry Wieneke.
Then came the Necrological report, and a number of letters wer
read from former old settlers of Johnson County who expressed thei
regrets on not being able to attend this thirty-fourth annual picnic.
the year's death roll.
Mrs. Sarah Cropley,'58
K. H. Hasting-s, '65
8 J. K. Strawbridg-e, '42
D. M. Dixon, '54
J. Iv. Doug-lass, '54
P. K. Shaver, '44
•55 Mrs. J. T. Struble, '39
Kmory Westcott, '56
J. T. Struble, '52
W. D. Cannon, '40
Georg-e Hunter, '50
J. T. Robinson, '40
J. R. Heath, '55
Mrs. S. B. Bowen, '39
Lorimer Doug-lass, '52
B. W. Reynolds, '45
J. W. Morford, '52
G. A. Shellady, '50
S. Hill, '38
M. T. Trotter, '44
A. B. Teneyck, '43
A. Albright, '49
Mrs. A. Albright, '53
J. F. I/acy, '55
Ed. Greer, '59
J. W. Siemens, '64
John A. Goetz, '56
Mrs. J. A. Goetz, '55
J. S. Wilson, '51
K. W. Hart, '47
Mrs. Richard Zimmer-
Mrs. Henry Walker, '38
Henry Walker, '37
James Walker, '37
Wm. Kessler, '51
J. M. Seydell, '46
William Cochran, '43
John J. Brady, 49
Mrs. M. G. Kirkpatrick,'3!
Charles Gaymon, '41
As reported, the following members of the Association hav
passed to the great beyond during the last year.
Mrs. John Akett
Mrs. C. Agnew
MrH. Simeon Barnes
Mrs. Joel Bartlett
€. J. Baylor
Mahala B. h. Bowen
Mrs. Elizabeth Baker
Mrs. M. L. Curtis
Elias B. Howell
Mrs. Elias B. Howell
Mrs. Mary Jayne
Samuel F. Eefevre
Mrs. M. E. Eininger
Mrs. J. J. Eorack
D. M. Eangdon
Mrs. Jane Love
Wm. A. Morrison
Mrs. E. C. Murphy
Mrs. Susannah Reynolds
Mrs. Hannah Borland
Mrs. David Simpson
Mrs. W. F. Smith
Mrs. Ann Sullivan
Mrs. Martin Smith
Mrs. Kate Schaedler
Ida R. Sanders
— 5 —
Mrs. Anna Davis
W. J. Kmmons
E. J. Fracker
Mrs. M. Grimm
Mary B. Griswold
Mrs. Kd. Murphy
J. D. Musser
Mrs. Henry Nicking
Mrs. R. Ogden
George Paul, Jr.
G. M. Ryerson
Charles G. Reiff
I<ewis S. Swafford
Mrs. M. F. True
Julia S. Swafford
Mrs. Conrad Tippenhauer
Mrs. Peter VonStein
Mrs. Mary Waldron
Short and interesting remarks were made by Judge Fairall,
Euclid Sanders, David Dixon and others. Miss Cora Colony gave a
declamation, and a song by Mr. Griswold, followed by reading the
correspondence, closed the literary proceedings of the day.
Washington, D. C, August 20, 1900.
Matthew Cavanagh, Iowa City, Iowa,
I made efforts to be in attendance at old settlers picnic, but busi-
ness prevents. Wish you all a pleasant time, long years and pros-
perity. Martha Woods, my mother, joins me.
Seattle, Wash., July 24, 1900.
G. R. Irish, M. Cavanagh, John Springer, Committee.
Iowa City, Iowa.
It was with genuine pleasure I received your communication of
[uly 20, inviting the writer and family to the Annual Reunion of Old
Settlers of Johnson county.
Your names look as familiar to me as of old, although eleven
jrears have elapsed since I left Johnson county. My mind often times
goes back to the old stamping ground, and I wonder how all my old
friends and acquaintances are making it.
The world, with the exception of two or three years following
the panic, has treated me kindly since leaving Iowa. While I left a
^ood county and an equally good state, I have nev^er regretted making
a change in my home. Here we have no hot nor cold spells, and
business is all that could be desired.
Were it not for the complexion of the committee, I should close
A^ith a hope that the good old state of Iowa and the county of Johnson
>vould roll up a rousing majority in favor of "Sound Money" and
— 6 —
Sincerely regretting that the distance precludes the possibility of
my being with you, I close with the wish that your reunion this year
may be as enjoyable and successful as those in times past.
Very respectfully yours,
R. R. Spencer.
Santa Ana, Cal., August 2, 1900.
O. S. A. OF Johnson County.
Dear Friends: —
When I read to my wife the kind invitation of your committee
to attend your annual gathering, I exclaimed ''Lets go!" I assure
you that it would afford us great pleasure to meet and greet the many
old friends of your association. The memories of past years of child-
hood, boyhood and manhood, can never be exceeded or obliterated
by the after events of life. While we dearly love our California home
we often visit in dreams and pleasant recollections the friends and
scenes in Johnson county. We hope in the near future to look into
your faces and review with you memories of the past. Meanwhile
rest assured that while it is not possible for us to be present with you
this month, in the body, we will be present in thought and send you
Carey R. Smith.
Katharine R. Smith.
Stuttgart, Ark., August 18, 1900.
Hons. M. Cavanagh, G. R. Irish and John Springer,
Com. of Invitation, Johnson Co., Iowa, Old Settlers Association.
Iowa City, Iowa.
Gentlemen and Old Friends: —
When I received your kind invitation recently to attend the
Reunion of the Old Settlers of Johnson County, August 21, 1900, it
stirred within me a flood of memories not easily disposed of. For I
remember as though it were but yesterday how we drove into Iowa
City the 9th day of November 1852, and how we quartered upon our
old friend, the late Horace Mayward, who lived at the time up stairs
in the frame building which is now standing upon the northeast corner
of Clinton and Burlington streets, but then stood across the alley
north of the old Pinney House, and how we threshed the old towJ
— 7 —
over to find a place to keep us warm and dry during the winter just
"setting in" (for it snowed at least eight or ten inches the next day
after we landed) and failing in our attempt to find a place, we drove
our team and covered wagon to the north part of the county, there
finding old friends who had preceded us from Ohio to Iowa, where
we wintered in small quarters but comfortably, upon the farm now
belonging to one of the Fuhrmeisters, about two miles west of Solon
on the Cedar Rapids road. The following spring we moved into
Scott township, my father having purchased the land now occupied
by Frank Lord. Surrounded by the open prairie we builded a home
and shared the joys and hardships incident to the settler of that day.
Our first sod was broken in 1853 by John Dupont, with six yoke of
oxen hitched to an enormous plow, and so well do I recall the event
that I can as I write, hear the voice of the drivei as he sang out in
tones more earnest than musical the name of each faithfully but some-
what reluctant ox, the very names still cling to my memory as he sang
them over and over again and I shall not forget them to my dying
day, and were I with you August 21, I believe I would be tempted to
recall to you the names of these faithful bovines as they lazily blacked
the green prairie and aided in no small way the old settler to solve the
problem staring him in the face; poor faithful Buck and Bright we
never shall see your like again. Along somewhere about this time a
mysterious row of stakes were found driven about midway between
the upper and lower Muscatine roads, pointing in it was said from
some place on the Mississippi river toward Iowa City, and soon the
knowing ones announced that we were to have a railroad, and within
a few months they began to break ground all along the line, for the
M. & M. railway was to be built. No doubt many of you remember
the old M. & M. bonds. Railway building in those days was a very
tedious business as compared with the present time, the contractors
depended largely upon the teams of the farmers living along the line
to do the work of grading. My father was persuaded by one of the
contractors to let me take the team and work upon the grade, and he
assured my father that he should have his pay for such services when
one Carmichael came over the line, which was all satisfactory. Car-
michael never came and there is still due and unpaid for work done
by me and a pair of horses the sum of $13.25, but the debt was for-
given many years ago. The road changed hands many years ago
and is one of the great thoroughfares across the continent, and the
beautiful commodious depot at the foot of Clinton street is quite in
contrast with the old box car that was used as the depot building
wherein was transacted all the freight and passenger business when
the M. & M. road first entered Iowa City. I leave for our old friend,
Peter A. Dey, the veteran railroad builder what more is to be said of
the first railway to Iowa City.
If I were with you at your reunion I am sure you would with one
concert aver that I had visited you with an unimpaired appetite as
well as memory, while many are the incidents we would recall, many
faces we would recognize tho' changed with passing years, surely a
a feast of memories and an overflow of good will, a renewal of friend-
ships with the hand clasps of old. Those of you whom I met upon
my recent visit, to my surprise had changed but little, but each one
bore the evidence that he or she was well on his or her journey to
that home that must sooner or later claim all of us old settlers, and a
sadness comes over us all no doubt as we remember the many who
having wrought faithfully have gone to their reward; God bless them
all, no new state was ever peopled with such as they, an incomparable
honesty and integrity was theirs, a generosity that never allowed a
sufferer uncomforted in their midst. Since moving from your midst
twenty years ago, wherever I have traveled, all places and people are
at once put in comparison with Johnson county and her people, par-
ticularly the old settlers, and I can most truthfully say that for wealth;
of nature's resources old Johnson county tops the list, every acre an
inexhaustable mine not depleted a farthing in the last fifty years. Her
population the peers of any on earth. I wish I could be with you in
the meeting of 1900, but must content myself as I recount alone the
many incidents of an old settler of Johnson county.
And tho' I am with mine for perhaps the balance of my life to b
a resident of this, one of the most beautiful and fruitful places on earth,
I shall cherish as almost sacred the memories of Johnson county anc
her old settlers.
Yours most truly,
G. W. Hand.
— 9 —
Orchard Home, Oregon.
(That's my place.) .
Albany, Ore., August 6, 1900.
M. Cavanagh, Secretary O. S. A.
Iowa City, Iowa.
Dear sir: —
I am in receipt of yours of the 23rd ult, inviting me to attend the
annual picnic of the Old Settlers of Johnson county. I assure you
that it would afford me much pleasure to be there and mingle with
old time friends, reviving memories that have lain dormant for many,
many years. I regret however to inform you that the great distance
and business engagements preclude my attendance in person, but in
spirit will be with you, and with the miner eye shall hope to see much
good cheer prevail, and the hilarity of that festive occasion will doubt-
less be enjoyed by all.
I certainly have a just pride in being recognized as one of the
pioneers of old Johnson — for there it was that from a stripling boy I
emerged into manhood.
There more than any other place I claim as my native land,
there the incidents and accidents, the aspirations and ambitions of
early life stamped their impress upon the memory, there the first
money I ever made and saved was paid me by Henry Felkner for
splitting rails, like the illustrious Lincoln. That is why I would like
to be with you, and again shake the trembling band of old friends
and look again upon the old land marks of the long ago.
I want to compliment you people for the energy and effort shown
in the maintainence of your organization for so many years. If I
remember correctly I joined about the year i860, and here allow me
to suggest, that would it be well to publish in your circular the
date of organization and other interesting data of its doings from time
to time, all of which would be of interest to new members and refresh-
ing to old ones. I heartily approve of such associations, and while
living at Hastings, Neb., the many Iowa people there formed the
society called the "lowans" of which the writer was its president,
and now here in this sun-set country the Nebraska people are talking
of organizing. But old Iowa City the primitive home has many dear
memories, and had I staid there I might have become quite a person-
age by this time like the rest of you. But acting upon Horace
I Greeley's advice I went west. When I sold the old farm in Graham
— 10 —
township to Bob Denton, I used $800 (it being all the cash I received,
and that was "wild cat" money, that was worthless a week after I
paid it out,) and bought a half section of land in Poweshiek county.
This land I improved in good shape setting one thousand apple trees
that I bought of J. J. Mendinhall, and in twelve years sold it for
$13,000,00. Again being loose we shipped bag and baggage to the
great "American Desert" called Nebraska, and here I must relate a
little incident that proved to be a joke on me (as usual,) which is too
good to be kept.
We shipped our goods, the boys drove through with the team,
while wife, daughter and self went on the train. We had ridden all
night and in the morning felt considerably like having a. good warm
breakfast. I had plenty of money and felt to be about the size of a
man named "Goliah," so we three promenaded through an empty
sleeper that was provided with a large mirror at each end of the long
aisle. We casually noticed a party of several persons coming toward
us and as we neared them I saw that a coUision was imminent so I
stepped to one side to allow them to pass, and the gentlemen approach-
ing stepped to the same side, then I stepped back to the other side,
and he did the same, again I dodged back and really he dodged just;
as I did. Well I exclaimed do go by sometime and not dodge here all
day for I am hungry, when lo, to my surprise I had been dodging
with myself all the time. The women were frantic with laughter,
while I felt lots smaller than I did, and after that they called me the
Well we got to Hastings (a stake town) and there being no
hotel had to go into the country three miles to stay over night. But
the town began to grow, I established the first newspaper in thetown^
but soon found out that I did not know enough to run a paper. I
engaged extensively in the stock business. Later I established a large
manufactor}^ and made what was called the "Lewis Header" for about
eight years at which time my health failed and we sold out. This
enterprise however was a success and I enjoyed it highly, and had I
engaged in such a business early in life I would have been close to
the band wagon today. Desiring to retire from active life and live in
a genial climate I came to this coast. Now friends, please pardon
me and not consider me an egotist, I merely mention these things that
you "old timers" who knew me there may see how fate has shoved
me around upon the great chess board of life as it does us all.
— II —
We say we can do as we please, but we are willing to obey the
mandate of fate nevertheless. Now permit me to change the current
of thought a little. I want to ask if you have any old bachelors in
your association? If you have please extend them my sympathy, for
through the force of circumstances I have had a little experience in
that line this summer myself and hence know whereof I speak. To
start wtih I want to say that any man who would persist in baching
20 minutes by the watch ought to be sent to the penitentiary during
good behavior. Yet the bachelor has some illustrious predecessors.
For instance there was Mose Adams, who to my personal knowledge
bached all alone. I staid over night with Mose and he used an old
broken saucer for a lamp, with a wick torn from his underwear, the
same being dipped in fried meat grease and lit with a spark from his
old flint lock youger, and that lamp gave such a brilliant light that
we could hardly tell one card from the other. And there were others
there who are quietly baching — Henry Felkner, E. K. Morse, Jas.
Buchanan and others too numerous to mention. I might go back to
ancient times and name Adam, the father of all bachelors. He lived
alone for some time and done his own house work until the Lord took
pity on him and made for him a wife by extracting a rib from his
anatomy while fast asleep. Now I will venture the assertion, that
there ain't a bachelor within the sound of my voice but what would
be willing to give a whole spare rib if the Lord would make for therrt
a wife, yet it must be admitted that there are some things about
baching that are good, for instance he is not troubled with squalling
kids or hungry tramps, and he sees some splendid times for instance,
when asleep and dreaming of his best girl. But I must stop this
digression from the main subject, (the -paramount t'sstie) or I will
weary you. What rambling remarks I have hurriedly written will show
you that I am still on top, and I may add in the very best of health.
If all goes well another year I will try to be with you.
Hoping you may have a good time the 21st and enjoy it in full
measure, I am Very truly yours,
Miles K. Lev^is.
P. S. Kindly mail me a circular when you have them printed.
— 12 —
Messrs. Irish, Cavanagh and Springer, Committee.
Gentlemen: Acknowledging receipt of your invitation to
attend the annual meeting of the Old Settlers' Association of Johnson
County, I am compelled to regret my inability to respond in person.
The pleasure of meeting you all on this occasion for the renewal of
old friendships and the reviving of old memories, being denied and
deferred, I may be indulged in offering some of the reflections and
reminiscences that are quickened by your letter.
The modern population of Iowa can scarcely realize the hardy
and heroic conditions of frontier life as they were known and shared
by the pioneers. Our first settlers were a self-centered people,
greatly independent and resourceful. Moving out upon the extreme
edge of public jurisdiction, they had to do for themselves in the
maintenance of order, the application to personal and property rights
of the natural principles of law and equity, and in morals and ethics,
all that now seems to be done through the established institutions of
the civil and social state. Upon the foundations they laid those insti-
tutions have been built, and the dense population that is secure in
their enjoyment may, in that security, measure the merit of the brave
and devoted founders of the Commonwealth.
In that far time the means of communication and transportation
were primitive and slow. The telegraph and fast mail were un-
known. Daily papers from far Eastern cities were seldom seen, and
when they came brought rather aged news of the doings of the great
Thrown back upon ourselves, under these conditions there grew
up a neighborly sociability that was in effect a school of the highest
value to the younger members of the pioneer families. The settle-
ments were far apart. Public houses were rare, and when the front-
iersman made a journey he relied upon private hospitality and was
always a welcome guest. He brought the news of his neighborhood,
of the newly arrived settlers and the information they imported from
their old homes in the East. He told of the building of new cabins,
the breaking of new prairie fields for tillage, the condition of the
crops, the discoveries made as to the capacities of the soil, the success
of the noble frontier housekeepers in the domestic arts, the means
taken to school the children, and in return received a store of like
knowledge from his host and hostess.
Some personalities are with me indelible. To my father's log
— 13 —
house came in that way, Judge Cavanagh, Robert Gower, the Burges',
Egbert T. Schenck, and dear old Andrew Safley, who always
brought his flute and his repertoire of Scotch songs. I can see him
yet, the doppleganger of Kit. North, and hear the inspiring notes of
his flute. So also came Andy D. Stephen and Harvey HoUen, and
from farther away Dubuque, Richard Bronson, and from all the set-
tlements the men who with courage and energy were solving the
problems of life in. a new country, where the trails made by moccas-
ined Indians still seamed the prairie in all directions. I doubt
whether a more intelligent body of people ever settled any frontier.
"When the exchange of local news was finished, the talk would drift
into public questions, into expositions of the Constitution, recollec-
tions of historical reading, and speculations upon the result of great
events, then in action on the European stage. This brought out
scholarship, reading and information, and I must confess my indebt-
edness to those frontier philosophers for much learned by listening
that has been amongst my most valued equipment.
In public matters a simple plan was followed by our early states-
men. After the close of a session of Congress, it was the habit of
General Dodge, when he was our territorial delegate and after he be-
came a senator, to visit all the towns and settlements, gather the peo-
ple and give them a history of the proceedings of Congress. It was
non-partizan, included all the great measures that were the material
of national politics, and especially everything that related to Iowa and
the new institutions and interests of her people. After this tour the
people had a clearer idea of national legislation, why this measure
succeeded and that failed, than your two millions of people get now
from reading their daily papers.
In these homely and simple ways minds were kept active, neigh-
borly kindnesses was maintained, hospitality was cultivated and all of
the virtues of contented life were nourished. So it is that in my
exile I turn with growing fondness to that distant time, the figures of
the pioneers stand out with increasing clearness, and their memory
is cherished with growing reverence.
Your annual meetings are preservative of a history that none of
the modern population can exactly reproduce, and I promise myself
the great pleasure of sometime being with you, even though I meet
only the sons and daughters of the first settlers.
Oakland, California. Jno. P. Irish.
— 14 —
Aledo, Illinois, August 15, 1900.
To THE Committee of Johnson County's Old Settlers Re-
union, Iowa City, Iowa.
Gentlemen: Your kind invitation to attend the Johnson County
Old Settlers Reunion is at hand, and at this late day I hasten to
reply, having waited thus long thinking I could arrange my affairs so
as to be present with you at that time, but find that I will have to
send my thanks for your courtesy, and my regrets instead. I find
that my engagements are such that it will be impossible for me to
leave home at present. But I desire to be remembered by the old
settlers on this their annual gathering for exchanging thoughts of the ;
past, and feast day, and the committee has asked me to send my sen- >
timents if unable to be present, I willingly respond. ;
First, I send greetings to the dear old fathers and mothers of
Johnson County, many of whom are personally known to me from
childhood to womanhood, and as I glance backward the reminiscenses
of the past are full of enjoyment connected in a large measure with
many of these fathers and mothers of this county. And as I have
met with you from time to time in the past and felt the warm tender;
clasp of the hand and heard the cheerful words of welcome, and lis-:
tened to the experiences of long ago, my heart grows warmer and li
am thrilled with pleasure to be accounted one of the old settlers of
Johnson county. I hold in grateful remembrance those pioneers
who fought with the dangers and hardships attending the establishing
of homes in the new country, and that through these very hardships
and deprivations civilization has reached its present status, not only
has it reached its present standing, but is and will be continually
reaching for new fields. The progress which is ours today, has;
gone backward as well as come forward. We know our prosperity
reaches back to the time when the Pilgrim fathers began the set-
tlements in this country, and as the steady trend of the settlements
was to the westward it was the energy and determination of these
same old settlers all over the West that has made this country what
it is, and today, as we are indebted to the early pioneers of Johnson
county for this beautiful city, with all its advantages of schools, uni-
versity, churches and all its desirableness as a location for homes, so
the nations abroad are forced to feel and acknowledge the influence
of this our home nation through the early pioneers, and the cities of
this nation and this city shall stand as monuments to the enterprising
and untiring energy of staunch old pioneers.
There is one thing that has seemed a little strange to me when I
have attended these reunions heretofore. It is this. I have not
heard the voice of a single woman of Johnson County from the plat-
form at any of its reunions. Why is it? It ought not so to be. The
women of those early days had many hardships to contend with,
more, perhaps, than the men, generally speaking, and while I admire
and esteem the men for the progress they have made and the com-
forts with which they have been able to surround their families, much
of the success which they achieved is due to the tender sympathies,
untiring energies, economy and self-denial of the faithful, uncom-
plaining, loving wives of these same pioneers, amd they too, should
have a share in the honors and congratulations showered upon the
The time has passed when the mothers, wives, sisters and
daughters of this fair land of ours, cannot stand side by side and
shoulder to shoulder with its husbandry. What would this world
amount to without its women? No more than it would without its
men. There was a time when it was thought unnecessary to educate
a woman in anything but the very common branches of the English
language, and they could only do house work and sew a little, as it
would unsex them if they were educated the same as their brothers,
and surely the worst that could haf^en to a young lady was the fact
that she was su-pforting herself as a sales-woman in some store. But
it has been demonstrated that as door after door has given entrance
to woman she has been able to reach as high an altitude in education
as her brother, she has been able to occupy her positions in life with
as much dignity, grace and efficiency as her brother, and today
woman may hold a position of as great honor and trust as her bro-
ther, and the women of this nation are rapidly advancmg in all the
walks of life to which entrance has been granted them.
The great body of the M. E. Church, the general conference,
which met in Chicago in May, after years of disagreement and dis-
cussion decided that women of the church were elligible to a
seat in its body as delegates. Some one has said that there is always
a man for every emergency. Washington commanded the armies of
this nation when no other man could have succeeded. There was
but one General Lafayette, and there could be but one Abraham
Lincoln; he was the one man in all this nation to rally the nation's
forces to the success of freeing the colored people from their bond-
— i6 —
age of slavery. Those years of the civil war were trying times for
both the men and the women of our country; fathers against suns^
brothers against brothers, friends against friends, all giving freely
their lives for their country's honor. Men offered themselves to their
country in behalf of suffering Cuba, now it is the Philippines and
China; grand, noble men willing to lay their lives if need be upon
their country's altar, and may God bless every one of them and save
them to return in safety to their homes. But my brothers, sisters,
friends, there is a curse upon this nation today that is more devasta-
ting in its influence upon the people, upon the homes and upon the
children in the homes than slavery ever was. It causes more heart-
aches, poverty, debauchery and wretchedness than all the wars we
have had, beginning with the civil war and including the war with
Cuba, Philippines and China, for there is a beginning and an end
sometime to all wars. But the annual destruction of men and boys
by this curse is one hundred thousand yearly. The destruction
never ceases but grows continually. Worse is it than slavery, do
you ask? Far worse. Slavery could only destroy the body, but this
accursed whisky traffic destroys both body and soul.
What has all this to do with the Old Settlers Reunion? This, there
are those here today that have faced the Red man, undergone all
sorts of trials, many were soldiers in the civil war, and some are
eager to shoulder guns and brave the dangers of old Ocean to rescue
the suffering foreigners, but how many are willing to shoulder his
little piece of white paper and go to the ballot box and shoot down
the whisky traffic with his vote?
I think the time is not far distant when the men of this Nation like
"Barrak" of old will see their own feebleness to handle this monster
evil alone, and will have to call in the ''Deborah's" by permitting full
franchisement to women, who, armed with the ballot, will march in
one mighty phalanx to the destruction of the rum power and the
safety of home. Fathers, brothers, you still have it in your power to
help in this one thing, more for the betterment of your city, your
home, and the happiness of womanhood.
Do what you have to do, quickly,
' Time is flying-, time is precious
And, 'you pass this way but once."
There is a vacant place among you today, (perhaps more than
one) that of one who came early to Johnson county, among the first
of the pioneers, Louis S. Swafford. Whose place will be vacant
— 17 —
next year? I cannot tell, nor you. We make the journey to the
river's brink together, but one crosses alone, the other stays, but,
blessed thought, we may all meet again beyond the river.
Wishing you a pleasant and enjoyable reunion today, and many
happy returns of the day,
I am very sincerely yours,
Virginia E. Hanby Wright.
Albia, Monroe County, Iov^a, December, 1899.
G. R. Irish, Secretary Old Settlers Association.
Iowa City, Iowa.
Dear sir: —
In compliance with a half made promise I submit to you the
following account of the overland trip made by a party which left
Iowa City for the Salmon river gold mines May 22, 1862. But first
let me thank you for your kind invitations extended to Mrs. Casaday
and myself to attend the Old Settlers picnic also for the report of same
kindly sent me from time to time. Although born in New York
state in 1827, having landed on Iowa soil (Davenport) Sunday Dec.
II, 1853, and in Iowa City on the 13th of the same month, I feel
that I can be called an old settler of Johnson county, a fact of which
I am proud. If I remember right you wanted to know who com-
posed the party and our encounters with the Shoshone Indians. And
in regard to the death of Mr. Hunter.
In the early Spring of '62, newspapers were filled with glowing
reports of miners digging bushels of gold in a day from the Salmon
river mines. I later found that the reports were not exaggerated.
But the gold was found in pockets and these were soon exhausted.
The gold fever raged high in Iowa City and elsewhere, and John C.
Culbertson, John C. Henley, John P. Orcutt, John Wilson, Andrew J.
Hunter, Edmond Harrison, Charles Harrison, Dr. Henry Murray,
Joseph E. Fales, Isaac Ijams, Hiram Watts and Andrew J. Casaday
were so affected with the fever that they left or disposed of their
business, bade good bye to loved ones and friends and on Thursday,
May 22, 1862, started with what was called the Iowa City Horse
train, on a long, perilous journey. Could we have looked in the future
and known even a part of the trials and hardships and the final end-
ing of that much expected of trip, I think it would never have been
— i8 —
We started with four two-horse teams, two mule teams and!
Casaday's riding pony. On the route Mr. Heney bought a black!
horse which he named "Spike," so named because when hard puUing j
was required he was hitched to the end of the wagon tongue, this ^
forming a spike team. Before starting, the writer, not then a church
member, exacted a promise of the company not to travel on Sunday.
We lived up to this pledge with one exception, wherein we were
justified as we traveled until dark Saturday night, without finding,
grass for our stock. We gave them good wheat flour taken for such
emergencies, and Sunday morning at day break started to find grass;
and bagged our game about lo o'clock and settled in camp for the day.
Our travel through Iowa was quite pleasant; we camped one night a
few rods from the capitol of Nebraska and our nearest neighbors
were composed of some Sioux Indians; the next morning they beggedi
us for powder, if I remember right one of our party gave them some.
We remained over Sunday at the now city of Omaha. The cooks
scoured up the tinware and with everything in order, dishes packed,
were ready to start at six a. m. for the still glittering gold. Reached
the banks of the Elk Horn river twenty miles from Omaha and
camped for the night. Tuesday morning Mr. Culbertson, with whom
we all regretted to part, informed us that he had enough of the trip
and left us and started on his return to Iowa City. It did not occur
to me then, but does now, that I was the first one to twist the Sab-
bath. Dr. Murray had cut the fat off some hams in store and was
about to leave it for prairie wolves, thinking it would be a good tonic,
I, not so liberal hearted, rendered the lard out of it and made a good
supply of doughnuts. Each member of our camp gave me thanks
for the trespass and sin.
Our fuel consisted of rank weeds most of the time. One Saturday
night in the Rocky Mountain region we found and prepared abund-
ance of wood for over Sunday and were obliged to leave quite a
supply Monday morning. None of us at any time used Buffalo chips
for fire wood. One day we were where some women were cooking
with them, the flavor seemed objectionable, but one can do almost
anything when hunger ferociously demands food. Is it not strange
what hardships, dangers and exposures man will meet to gain gold
when the next minute he knows he may be dead? yet such cases were
verified in our trip. On Friday, August 8th, while traveling on what
was called Landers cut off, the route passing some 40 miles north of
— 19 —
Salt Lake City, we came to a point a little east of the American Falls
on Snake river where a well traveled trail led to said river. We took
the trail to the river, it being called the short line to the gold mines.
When we reached the river hundreds were on either bank waiting to
cross. Those from the north reported all a fake, no gold to be found,
they returning disheartened. Their stories, as dark as those told in the
spring were bright. The terms for ferrying across the river were two
dollars apiece for the wagons, horses and mules to do their own
swimming. The ferrymen were prepared with arguments for both
sides of the river in order to obtain the double fee. We held a con-
sultation and decided to return to the main trail and aim for the
Powder river gold mines in Oregon. Soon after reaching the main
trail we camped for the night. We had now been on the road over
two and one-half months. Our teams were worn with travel, our
bodys and minds tired out, and a gloomy outlook as regards that for
which we came. Were we just discouraged, or were our feelings a
forerunner of what was to follow? Even Hunter, the most social of
men, seemed despondent, and early the next morning, August 9th, I
noticed him sitting in the front end of his wagon and for some time he
seemed in a deep study. This was unusual for him as he was always
the first to make the start. On this long to be remembered day we
ate our breakfast, packed up, put our sad forebodings aside for
another will-o-wisp gold mine in Oregon. The trail that day ran
through sage brush three and one-half to four feet high. The track
was a little wider than the wagon with occasionally some open spots.
Near eleven o'clock Mr. Hunter and myself were walking a short
distance in advance of his team when some one called out the "Indians
are after us." Two Italians had joined us a day or two before and
were in their wagon in the rear of the train quite a space back. The
Indians had surrounded their wagon before any of us could reach
them. One of the men was killed, one of their mules shot dead and
the wagon tipped over. Wilson and myself were on the north side
and the Indians making for our train on the south of the wagons
We, Wilson and myself, started for the reUef of the Italians. We
were ordered back to our train as the Indians were after our provisions,
Wilson was ahead of me going back, he called out "my mule is dead
and Andy (meaning Hunter) is down." I asked where is Andy? He
pointed to the sage brush. Hunter called to me and just as I got to
his side two Indians came from the east on ponies toward us, I dropped
— 20 —
on one knee, pointed my gun towards the Indians, they immediately
rode away. I did not then shoot preferring to save my ammunition for
closer contact. I then got near enough to Hunter for him to turn his
eyes so he could see me and he said, Casaday take care of my things,
send them to my folks and tell them I was killed by an Indian. Dur-
ing this interval each man was doing what he thought would save
him and his. At this time Hunter's body was between me and his
wagon, I being east of him and the wagon west of him and the other
boys still west of the wagon in consultation. They called me to come
and go with them on higher ground, as where we were the ground
was such that the Indians could easily surround us which they were
trying to do. They started for the hill or mountain side, I called to
them two or three times to take Andy's body, but they said we must
take care of ourselves now, but will come back for him. When the
alarm was first given Hunter unhitched his mules as one of them was
fractious. When the boys drove away the mules and Henley's horse
followed and went beyond the corrall some eight or ten rods. I
followed quite a distance behind leading my pony, she did not seem
willing to be led so I let her loose as I thought myself a good target
for the natives, she trotted to the other horses. On coming up to the
boys, they said, Casaday you watch that place and keep the Indians
from coming between the mules. Spike and us having bt:en brought
up to obey and knowing some one ought to be there, I took the
position. It was not very long until an Indian came near enough to
try me for a mark. I cannot say one Indian did all the firing at me,
but the sole of my boot was cut, balls passed both sides of my neck,
one ball cut four holes in the sleeve of my undershirt. Each ball
seemed to come nearer, then one hit me in the right hip, I fell, having
reserved as a reward for my love of wealth, a metal heavier than gold
but not near so valuable, and this ball of whatever metal may be is
still with me. Several experts have failed to locate the foreign sub-
stance. For 28 years the wound at intervals of about six weeks
would gather and discharge. December 27, 1892, a good surgeon
sent to Chicago and obtained an instrument for the purpose of removing 1
accumalution, and took two quarts of fluid away. The same surgeon
operated again on Febuary 12, 1893, since then I have not suffered
as much as before, (This before X rays.) There has not 24 hours
passed since our first Indian encounter that I have not had reason to;
remember the 9th of August 1862, and the gun shot wound from the
, hand of a Shoshone Indian. But he did not get the mule. After a
while I got to my wagon and got ammunition for the use of the boys*
The Indians at some distance we thought to find Hunter, I could not
go to him, and one of the boys said "why Andy is all right, see him." I
raised up to see and sure enough he had made his way to his wagon
^ and was getting into it a short time after some of the men went to
him but he was dead, his juglar vein had been cut by a bullet. He
died alone away from his dear ones. The earth was robbed of one
of its noblest sons, a pure man, honest and upright; would we had
more like him. About i p. m. Charlie Harrison started on my pony
to ride through the sage brush to where we had left his brother and
another man fishing in the Snake river, for reinforcements, we
knowing there were trains back of us. The Indians were about to
cut off his retreat, he was called back; waited awhile then took the
trail back two miles to where the great ox train had been robbed of
all their provisions, even the covers were taken from their wagons.
One young lady shot and two men killed, one of them a Mr. Bul-
winkle, a rich bachelor from from New York City who was making
the overland trip with a fine outfit and four horses, for pleasure. The
Indians robbed him of his money. We afterwards saw persons with
twenty dollar gold peices they obtained from the Indians for which
they had exchanged silver.
At four p. m., our camp moved 30 to 40 rods north and west to
an open grass spot. The stock were corralled, and at sundown the
members of the robbed trains came and the Harrison boys with them.
I was laid on the grass between two dead men, Mr. Hunter and the
Italian, the strangers would say "poor man will he die, has he a family
to hear his sad fate." At day break a large horse train having heard
of our fight came to our relief. We were known the rest of the trip
as the Iowa City fighters. There were about 1000 persons in camp
on Sunday, August 10, 1862. Mr. Hunter and the Italian were buried
by them and they placed a mark at Hunter's grave. Sunday morn-
ing Mr. Kennedy, captain of the ox train, called for volunteers to
make an effort to recover the provisions and stock taken by the Indians.
A number volunteered but the attempt was a failure, four of the vol
unteers were shot dead, two of their number were left on the ground
and two brought to camp, one scalped and he a brother of the young
lady who had been shot the day before, she died that night without
being informed of her brother's fate. On Monday morning we moved
— 22 —
on a few miles to the mouth of Raft river where the rest of the dead
were buried. We divided our provisions with those who had been
robbed. This being the junction of two trails some took the Cali-
fornia trail, we with others took the Oregon trail. The Indians were
following our wake day and night. About ten days after leaving
Raft river John C. Henley and another man on gaurd saw two Indians
creeping along close to our camp when one of them shot an arrow
which would make no noise, the arrow hit Mr. Henley's arm above
the elbow, followed the bone to near the shoulder and for several days
the question was which will die Casaday or Henley. In a few days
Henley began to recover rapidly, it was thought the arrow had been^
poisened. About October ist we reached the Powder river and'
settled Mr. Hunter's affairs as best we could and sent the proceeds to
I have said but little of the scenery and the beauties of nature.
My pen cannot portray nor have I words in which to tell of them.
The many mlies of undulating prairie, the quiet peaceful streams give
place to the unwatered American desert. Again the foot hills
with the high peaks of mountains in the distance. Another
change, the mountains themselves with different altitudes passing
from a warm sunshining clime into perpetual snow. From dark high
canyons with their rapid running streams through mountain passes
whose tops pierce the sky and yet again return to the delightful
summer valley of sunshine and flowers. One never having seen such
cannot imagine its grandeur and the feeling of awe it brings to one
when he considers the hand which ordered, planned and created all.
In speaking of our company, if you want to know a man, take
such a trip with him, his good and bad qualities show to their fullest
extent. Long before the journey is ended one or the other will pre-
dominate. It is not for me to censure anyone, but let me say that
God never made better, truer men, than some in that little party of
twelve. Most of them have already passed into that great beyond
from which they can never return. Time came when we must separ-
ate, two of the boys went with me to the Dalls, the last portage on
the Columbia river, it being just east of the Cascade mountains. The
portage was made on a slow moving train along the banks of the
river, there being only room enough to pass where the mountain
walls were nearly perpendicular and hundred of feet high. On reach-
ing Portland, Oregon, I went to the Williametts Valley, taught school
— 23 —
about five months, then took steamer to Astoria, thence to Victoria,
Vancouvers island, then to San Francisco, from there Via San Del
Sur across the isthmus of Tehauntepecte to San Juan Del Norte or
Grey town. This being in Captain Sem's Alabama privateer times.
We took to the west of Cuba through the gulf of Mexico up the
Atlantic coast to New York City from there through Canada to the
lakes and back to Iowa City, about the middle of June 1863, poorer
in purse and in flesh but rich in knowledge of newspaper gold mines.
I am now what life insurance men call 73 years, in better health than
25 years ago. Respectfully submitted January 31, 1900.
A. J. Casaday.
After the reading of the letters the day was devoted to social
chat and pleasant reminisence of olden times. The list of attendance
is imperfect, about six hundred sat down to dinner and later in the
day the numbers were much larger. As the shadows of evening
began to fall old friends bid good-bye and thus closed one of the many
social meetings of the members of the association.
Notes of the Day.
Mrs. Abbie Taylor, one of the people present, perhaps has lived on
the same farm for a longer period than any one woman in Johnson
county. She came here with her father, Alex Waldron, in 1848, and
has lived on the same farm ever since.
Capt. Benj. Owen exhibited a home made hickory broom of the
days gone by and the same was used to sweep out the cabins.
Mrs. M. Burge brought to the picnic a basket of apples which
were raised on a tree planted in 1852, and she states that a crop has
been gathered from the same tree for the period of 42 years. Her
father drove overland from Burlington and purchased the trees in
1852, and at that time planted an orchard of five acres. But few of
the trees are now living.
Mrs. Zeff Cray of Shenandoah, Iowa, came to the city in order
to meet many of her old friends.
Wm. Kelso of River Junction, bears the distinction of being the
first white child born in Johnson county who is now living. He is an
fold settler, having first seen the light of day in this county in 1839.
— 24 —
M. T. Trotter of Greenfield, Iowa, was one of the visitors at the
picnic. He was a former old settler here.
Many old time families gathered about the tables at the noon
hour. The largest number of any one family present were the
relatives of Henry, James and Joseph Walker, who numbered twenty-
two, and they had chicken and pies and other good things enough
to feed a hundred. That's the reason the reporters were so well
In all the picnic was a grand success and everyone present enjoyed
the occasion to its fullest extent.
John Sueppel's coffee brewed by Frank Luse gave a zest to the
appetite, and pure water dispensed by Geo. Frizzell made the day
enjoyable notwithstanding the extreme heat.
Monday, August 20, 1900.
MAN WHO FIRST BROUGHT A LOCOMOTIVE TO IOWA CITY PASSES
AW^AY IN NEW YORK.
Charles Stickles, the oldest active railroad engineer in the United
States, died at his home in Oneonta, New York, on Saturday last. A
dispatch from his home says that he was born at Hudson, N. Y.,
Nov. 26, 1822, and studied medicine, but gave up this profession to
devote his energies to steam, mastering every detail of the steam
His first trip on a locomotive as an engineer was on the Hudson
and Berkshire, July 9, 1848. Soon after he was employed on the
new railroad now the C. R. I. & P., which was pushing westward
across the new state of Iowa. In order to hold its charter and also
to receive a handsome bonus offered by the city of Iowa City, the
road was obliged to be completed and the first train reach the city by
January i, 1856.
The road was only half completed at the time, but ties were
hurriedly placed on top of the ground, on which rails were loosely
spiked. Over these Stickles run his train, arriving on time, but step-
ping from his engine in a fainting condition. He was carried from
the depot on the shoulders of the crowd, for the road's charter had
been saved, and the run has become historic.
The day when Stickles and his train reached Iowa City was one
— 25 —
of great rejoicing and many of the old settlers who will meet at the
Pair Grounds will remember the warm welcome given the train and
crew. The feat which at the time was a great event, made Iowa City
the western terminus of the first great railroad to push westward and
for a time Iowa City was the metropolis of the great west.
Many of our old settlers will remember the engineer who passed
'away in his eastern home and the story of his first run into Iowa City
will go down in history as one of the great achievements of the early
William Ackerman, who resides in the eastern part of Oxford
township has been engaged the past ten days in tearing down two
rooms connected with his dwelling, an old time log house, which our
fellow citizen W. E. Marvin says his mother built when he was 7
years old, making it about 55 years ago. These old landmarks are
of interest to the old settlers, as they are one by one fast disappear-
ing, to make room for the more modern buildings. Well can these
old settlers remember when returning home at night watching for the
twinkle of the light through the small window, which might have
been a "greased rag" or the luxuriant "tallow candle" which shone
forth always ready to welcome a stranger, and share with them all
they had, which might be "crushed corn bread" or if so fortunate as
to have flour in the house, then it would be hot biscuits, baked on the
old familiar fire-place. And then would come the tobacco and pipes,
and the conversation would drift back to Ohio (as nearly all our old
settlers were from that state). At bed-time you could easily tell
where your bed room was, by simply locating the ladder. But what
a change! — part of this old homestead, a room 12x14, was built by
Squire Reynolds, now of Windham, and in this room Father Emmons
used to hold Mass for a few of his scattered flock in those days, who
afterward worshipped in his grand church at Iowa City. If anyone
in those days would have ventured to picture a town only 4 miles
west of this old building with a railroad, telegraph, telephone, and
other modern improvements, he would have been considered wild in
The foregoing items are taken from the Press and Oxford Journal
and are inserted to preserve the passage of events; and for the infor-
mation of all that portion of the constitution regarding the require-
ments for membership in the association are published here :
— 26 —
Requirements For Membership.
All persons who are non-residents of Johnson county, who were
residents of Iowa at the time of the adoption of the first State Con-
stitution for the State of Iowa are eligible to membership. All per-
sons hereafter that have resided twenty years in Iowa and are res-
idents of Johnson County, may become members by applying to the
executive committee. Every member shall sign the constitution and
pay to the Treasurer fifty cents and thereafter twenty-five cents
The Old Settlers Association of Johnson county was organized
February 22, 1866.
President — David Switzer.
I St Vice President — F. M. Irish.
2nd Vice President — Robert Walker.
Treasurer — Peter Roberts.
Secretary — Silas Foster.
Samuel H. McCrory )
T. S. Parvin I Committee to Draft Constitution.
E. W. Lucas ^ )
It is the purpose of the executive committee to arrange the pro-
ceedings of the association prior to 1898 and procure their publication
uniform with those since that date. All members will take notice
and lend a hand in aid of this arrangement and by so doing help to
preserve in permanent form the interesting records of what will soon
be the dim past.
A FEW THINGS REQUIRED
Many years ago the old men of the association gathered the mater-
ial and erected a pair of cabins as reminders of the past. They were
an ornament to the landscape and a credit to the men who built them.
Time has removed very many of the men who, bent with age, but
with stout hearts and willing hands, built these monuments of the
good old days of pioneer times. Time has also made its mark upon
the work of those old men and it is imperatively demanded that the
cabins be put in repair and the grove about them be replenished.
Talk and promised effort will not do the work. Action, prompt,
good natured effort by each and all of us is what is required. No
great draft upon the pocket is needed. The annual dues from each
and all will be ample. G. R. Irish.